My theme for 2014 is RECEIVE

For the past few weeks, I've been thinking, researching, plotting and planning... preparing for 2014 and deciding how I wanted this next year to go. One suggestion given to me was to consider a theme word for the year and to open my heart and mind to embracing this concept in various areas of my life. 

I had to think about it for quite some time because so many words came to mind but none really felt right. I set the intention in my mind and then just let my brain simmer on it for awhile. Eventually my little brain brought up a sliver of a memory from years and years ago. A good friend told me then, about 13 years ago, that I needed to learn how to receive. It seemed like such a strange thing for someone to say, but I heard it and filed it away.

Upon reflection... I am pretty terrible at receiving. I would try to explain it and make it seem logical but to be honest, I don't think that there is a good reason for it. It is just my own stubborn pride and a never-ending loop of negative self-talk that keeps me in a very small space. If I can't figure out how to do it myself, I find a way to do without it. There are exceptions to this of course, but they are rather few to be honest. As I pondered this notion of a theme word for 2014... I realized that this was a chance for me to actually learn something and to grow. Perhaps even a chance for me to reach these goals that seem to move from year to year with no progress.

The word for 2014 is RECEIVE. 
I've struggled with survivor's guilt for years now. I shed tears regularly for newly diagnosed friends and family (and sometimes strangers too) and I weep deeply when I learn that a cancer-friend has passed. I feel terribly guilty for being here. I was a bit angry about being diagnosed with cancer. I was lost when I was done with treatment and didn't have to go to the hospital every week. And I've been alternately sad and confused since I was told to get back to my life because I was NED. (NED = no evidence of disease) I feel guilty for being here when so many others are not, or are battling with metastatic cancer.

The confluence of thoughts I have surrounding this word is intense. If I'm here for a reason, what is it? I don't believe that my God is one who wants to see me suffer, so if I'm still here then why am I punishing myself for this gift of life? Isn't that selfish? Am I smarter than God in knowing what is good for me and good for others? Don't I have some level of responsibility to myself and to my friends and family members who have dealt with this disease to use the gifts that I have to do something... something, to move this conversation around breast cancer forward? Or to just enjoy my life? Why can't I just be happy now? Life gives me opportunities for joy and I just create ways to mess them up. It is over (well, not entirely but mostly)... why keep punishing myself for something I didn't choose for myself and that is now over? 

Blah, blah and more blah... there are a bunch of thoughts and questions circling my mind but the best summation I can come up with is... get over it Nicole. You are not God and however things work out, being guilty will not bring anyone back or get anyone else healthy. So live.

Stop it. And be open to receive what is for you.

I didn't ask for breast cancer. Living my life under a black cloud (or even a pink one) because I feel guilty for being here serves no one. Life continues to present opportunities to me to rise, to grow and to share and I need to learn to accept the gifts that are sent my way. Period. What is interesting about receiving and giving... is that they must work in concert with each other. You cannot give to someone who refuses to receive. You cannot receive what has not been given to you. So, even in my twisted attempts to live small so that I don't intrude on other people's lives... I'm accomplishing the exact opposite of what I want. I deny them the gift of being able to give something that they want me to have. The same way that I feel strengthened when I am able to give to someone else, they receive that same gift. And when I refuse to accept or honor the gift, then I deny them an opportunity to feel strengthened and empowered. 


Receiving without guilt is new for me. I expect to feel challenged a lot this year. But I hope that you will keep me accountable to my word. When I start to erect barriers and excuses, just tell me to stop it.  And receive.
"To whom much is given, much is required." 

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